It's always blue skies in Humboldt County.
Damien made the sign, another of his assemblage miracles. It depicts the evolution of life on Earth.
The view as you enter. Damien hard at work.
wall. Hanging here
is Damien's Demento Mori 1 show.
Damien's tattoo station. You'll have plenty to look at while getting tattooed.
The clean room - not the
prettiest room in the studio, but the most important.
Our autoclave is routinely spore tested by an independent laboratory to ensure that it is in fact sterilizing properly.
Even our bathroom is now an art space with a permanent exhibit of some of the brilliant artwork of Horrible Spiders artist Brian Sproul, pictured above (the artwork, that is, not Brian!).
Ancient Arts is a tattoo studio and art gallery started by Damien and Lydia and now owned and operated tattoo artists Damien in beautiful, wacky, and slightly remote Arcata, located in far northern California. A local newspaper described Ancient Arts as a collision between a medieval freak show and a natural history museum. Everyone at Ancient Arts does what we do because we love it and because we are passionate about art, tattooing and piercing.
It is our aim to serve our clients with the highest standards of safety and artistry in body art and to promote unconventional and local art. We offer a full range of tattoo services, from custom drawing to a selection of over 10,000 quality tattoo designs. We work in full color, black-and-grey, and solid tribal black. We are highly skilled at covering up or repairing old or regrettable tattoos. We now also offer body piercing six days a week.
We work by appointment or on a walk-in basis, opening at noon from Monday through Saturday.
Ancient Arts is also a multi-cultural oasis for the arts. We offer our clients a relaxing experience to the sounds of world music and the sights of artwork. The décor melds objects from various world cultures with art hanging in the gallery portion of the studio. We offer ongoing displays of contemporary and local artists’ work (even our bathroom has been converted into an art gallery!), and are especially interested in promoting artwork that is unconventional, such as "outsider art," folk art, and junk art. If this sounds like your art, come in and talk to us about having an exhibition!
Ancient Arts is committed to the highest levels of sterilization and sanitation, and we welcome oversight and inspection. All needles and instruments used in all procedures are sterilized in an autoclave, the same method used for surgical instruments in hospitals. To ensure sterilization, the functioning of the autoclave is spore-tested periodically by an independent laboratory. Needles are never reused; each tattoo is done with new needles that are then disposed of in an approved sharps container. Any other materials, such as pigments, razors, gloves, and wipes, are disposable and used only once. In accordance to the highest standards in the industry, we use nitrile gloves (not latex) , and refuse to order supplies from companies that sell "piercing kits" or "tattoo kits." See the Tattoo FAQ page for more info about what we do to keep you, and ourselves, safe.
Ancient Arts is sensitive to community standards and to our own artistic integrity. We work with our clients to offer quality body art that will enhance your appearance and not compromise your lifestyle. For this reason, we do not offer services to minors, defined under California State legislation as anyone under the age of 18, not even with parental consent. Be advised that if you are under age 30, you will be asked to show ID to prove you are 18 or over. We do not tattoo gang symbols of any sort, and further reserve the right to refuse service to anyone seeking a tattoo that in our professional opinion could compromise your lifestyle or future aspirations.
We at Ancient Arts believe in giving back to our community. We regularly donate gift certificates to charitable causes as well as holding "Give Till It Hurts" fundraisers, in which we donate 50% to 100% of proceeds from a given day to a local or global non-profit. Past fundraisers have benefited the Roshni Centre for Women in Pakistan and the Humboldt Community Breast Health Project. We are also sponsors and members of Team Fate, a kinetic sculpture in the Kinetic Grand Championship!
Ancient Arts is also committed to improving lives through tattooing. For this reason, we offer tattooing rituals that mark serious life transitions, such as coming-of age, marriage, divorce, and funerals. In addition, we offer healing tattoo rituals; if you are seeking to cover a scar (such as a burn, surgical scar or mastectomy scar), we are committed to working with you to turn "ugliness" into beauty. Likewise, if you need to cover a name from a regretted relationship, want to get rid of a gang symbol or hate symbol because you have undergone a profound change, or are ready to fully commit to yourself through tattooing, we welcome you.
Your body IS your temple; we are here to decorate the walls.
About Our Logo
Our distinctive logo is based on the one of the oldest known figurative tattoo designs in the world. Due to the impermanence of flesh, it is difficult for researchers to make any definitive assertions about the history of tattooing. However, tattoos have been found preserved on mummies. Our logo is based on a tattoo found on the "Ice Maiden," the mummy of a Pazyryk woman buried over 2,400 years ago on the Altai plateau in Siberia, the "Pastures of Heaven." Her people were semi-nomadic, some of the first to domesticate and ride horses, and were related to Scythians. She may have been a shaman, warrior, or leader of her people; she was buried with great honor, in an eight-foot coffin carved out of a single log, and wearing a tall, elaborate headdress. She was surrounded by offerings and objects she would need in the afterlife, and her horses were sacrificed and buried with her. She had at least two tattoos that were preserved; our logo is based on one found on her shoulder. The image depicts a chimera creature, perhaps a combination of elk and horse. Its twisted body indicates that it is a prey animal. Its significance may have been to celebrate or assure success in the hunt, to give its bearer the qualities of the animal, or to honor its spirit. The design is both strong and beautiful, and very much in keeping with the tradition of Scythian and Pazyryk art as seen in leatherwork, carvings, and gold jewelry. A male mummy with similar tattoos was also unearthed in the 1950s, which may indicate that this is also the earliest documented example of multiple works by the same tattoo artist.
The issue of honoring our ancestors is very pertinent to the case of the "Ice Maiden," and her body has been returned to rest on the Altai Plateau. We at Ancient Arts hope that the sacred lands and burial places of the Pazyryk people and of native peoples around the world will no longer be disturbed by archaeologists, although we also deeply appreciate the knowledge brought before us. Damien honors the memory of his ancestors both in life and in tattooing by carrying this and another "Ice Maiden" tattoo.
Ancient Arts Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery 1065 K Street, Arcata, California, 95521 707-825-TAT2 (8282)